Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Denise Domning -- Summer's Storm

Denise Domning -- Summer's Storm Rated: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ . ♥   {4.85}
Action: ♠♠♠♠ / Emotion: ♣♣♣♣♣ / Romance: ♥♥♥♥ / Sensuous: ♦♦ / Suspense: ♠♠♠♠
Action: 4 / Emotion: 5 / Romance: 4 / Sensuous: 2 / Suspense: 4  //  Medieval Flavor: 4 / Laughter: 4 / Tears: 11

Immediately upon closing the cover of Winter's Heat (first book of Denise Domning's The Graistan Chronicles), picked up the second book of the series, Summer's Storm.   Could not wait to read about Rannulf's fascinating, elder, but illegitimate brother Temric, who we later learned was christened Richard.

Fully expected to hate the heroine of book two because she was the favored sister to the now much-beloved Rowena (heroine of book one).   Not only did Lady Edith of Benfield (Rowena and Philippa's mother) favor Philippa as a child, but Lady Edith, Philippa and her husband, Lord Roger of Lindhurst, were trying to steal away Rowena's inheritance.

Doming proved what a magic spinner of tales she was.   The heroine, Lady Philippa of Lindhurst, was not only married, but she was an abused wife.   The assumption that Philippa thought she was better than Rowena and deserved to receive their grandfather's inheritance proved to be wrong.   It was easy to feel great compassion for Philippa upon meeting her, along with her vicious, abusive mother-in-law, Lady Margaret of Lindhurst.   Philippa had been married to Roger of Lindhurst for twelve years and had never left the Lindhurst estate.   She was more prisoner than wife.   Domning did a phenomenal job of portraying how it felt to be a helpless battered wife in the twelfth century.

Summer's Storm was another book that immediately drew the reader into the story line and make it almost impossible to put the book down.   It was imperative to keep reading to find out how Domning was going to unravel the tangled mess in which the hero and heroine found themselves enmeshed.

Temric encountered Philippa when he arrived at Lindhurst with his cousin, Oswald of Hereford, who served as administrator to Bishop William of Hereford, the powerful cleric who was to rule on which of Lady Edith's daughters would receive her rightful inheritance.   It was hard to imagine that such a thing could happen, but Temric fell in love with Philippa at first sight.   Sure she was beautiful, but Temric had created a scenario in his mind about how he and Philippa were kindred spirits -- sharing the same cruel fate -- both being disinherited, bastard children.

The suspense thickened because Temric committed an unpardonable sin (for the era) -- not for stopping Lady Margaret from beating Philippa when she spoke up that she was Roger Lindhurst's wife -- but for touching an aristocrat.   Apparently commoners could be executed for improperly touching an aristocrat and when Temric placed Philippa in front of him on his horse, Margaret was out for blood.

By the time Oswald and Temric arrived with Philippa at Graistan, Oswald was incensed because he caught Temric committing incest -- Temric was kissing his sister-by-marriage.   Domning did another amazing job of revealing a battered wife's thought processes as she was kissed with care and consideration for the first time in her life.   The inner struggle that went on in Philippa's mind was realistically well-written.   She was not alone.   Temric suffered from the same misgivings.   He felt that Philippa was his soul mate, but there was no way his honor could allow him to be with not only a married woman, but his "sister."

Oswald sent Temric to confess to Graistan's Father Edwin, told him to stay away from Philippa, and left to go on a hunt with Bishop William, Rannulf, and Lord Lindhurst.   Philippa was excited to meet her sister after having had no touch with her family in twelve years.   It was quite a revelation to both sisters at how each had misinterpreted the childhood memories attributed to the other.   Rowena found a battered sister instead of a pampered, spoiled woman trying to steal her inheritance.

Temric was relieved that he had a valid reason to leave Graistan when his youngest brother, Peter, arrived to bring news that his widowed mother desperately needed his help with the family business because Jehan (Peter's elder brother) had lost the use of his legs in a warehouse injury.   Temric knew he had to remove himself from Philippa's presence.

Temric's leave-taking was hampered by the arrival of Margaret Lindhurst, who attacked him and demanded that Temric be whipped for touching her daughter-in-law.   Rowena hid Philippa and Temric in the same chamber, much to Temric's dismay.   Love whenever authors' portray the knightly honor of medieval men.   Temric had sworn upon his honor not to touch Philippa and being alone with her was killing him.   Especially, when Philippa decided she would touch Temric one last time before she died.   (Philippa knew that Roger would beat her to death when he found out another man had touched her.)

Philippa developed a relationship with her maid, Anne, and learned that the kindnesses at Graistan keep were typical.   Although Anne's character was not well-developed, she played a vital role in the twists and turns necessary in finding a way out of the maze that trapped Temric and Philippa.   Because Anne overheard Philippa confess to Father Edwin that she was afraid to die, Anne was able to tell Temric about Philippa's danger.

When Philippa admitted to Bishop William that she was, indeed, illegitimate, Roger dragged her from the hall before Temric could get to her.   By the time Temric made it to Roger's tent, Philippa had been beaten unconscious.   Bishop William arrived during the sword fight between Temric and Roger and agreed to a battle on the field of honor tomorrow.   But before the battle could take place, Rannulf finally got his life-long wish.   He knighted "Richard of Graistan" to make him an aristocrat and, thus, not punishable as a commoner.   The camaraderie that flowed between the brothers in Winter's Heat carried over into Summer's Storm as well.   (Temric had emotional conversation with Rannulf about confronting the pains of the past.)

Loved the spirituality that Domning wrote into Summer's Storm with regard to Temric coming to terms with his relationship with his father, Henry.   As was stressed in Winter's Heat, Temric repeatedly turned down Rannulf's offer to be knighted and become lord of one of his father's keeps.   For seventeen years Temric had been mad at his father for not writing his name on his will -- while all of his brothers knew that Henry had fully intended for Temric to inherit properties -- Henry just died prematurely of a broken heart after the death of his beloved wife, Ermina.   Temric was visited by Henry's presence in the church and finally understood that Henry not only loved him, but understood him as well.   What a beautiful scene.

The spirituality flowed over onto the heroine as well.   While Philippa was unconscious and headed towards death, a figure appeared in the bright light to tell her she had to stay for Richard.   It wasn't until after Philippa determined that she would love Temric for life, that she learned of his christened name, Richard.   The revelation brought Philippa peace -- she knew they were destined to be together.

Temric, Peter, Anne and Lady Edith devised a plot to save Philippa from the Lindhurst's' plans to see to it that she disappeared during the battle of honor.   Summer's Storm was full of emotional scenes that brought forth tears, but the sacrifices that Lady Edith would make to save her beloved daughter (that she had unintentionally placed into the hands of a monster) were gut-wrenching.   Nobody with a heart could get through these pages (where Philippa was saved) without spilling copious tears.

Temric and Peter take Philippa to Stanrudde where Temric and Philippa are to begin their new life as husband and wife and merchants.   Philippa heals, both physically and mentally, and develops a close relationship with Alwyna (Temric's mother).   Temric, on the other hand, suffers from a growing sense of depression.   Temric misses being a knight and warrior -- being a merchant does not agree with him.

Temric and Philippa have a very romantic private ceremony in which they pledge themselves to one another and make love.   Domning's style of writing involves more emotion and romance than sexuality in her love scenes.

There is one aspect of the book that doesn't quite ring true.   Philippa is the only family member that stands up to the resentful, mean-spirited, bitter man that Jehan has become.   How could a battered wife recover so swiftly that she is able to stand up to such a difficult man? Be that as it may, thanks to Philippa, Jehan becomes part of the business and the human race again.

Of course, no book is finished until there is a fast-paced, spine-tingling, action scene in which the hero and heroine vanquish the bad guy.   Summer's Storm is no exception.   Temric and Philippa finally get their happily-ever-after.
--Vonda M. Reid (Friday; January 21, 2011 : 1:29 a.m.)
Books In The Series: "The Graistan Chronicles"
# Date Title Hero Heroine
01.02-1994Winter's HeatRannulf FitzHenry, Lord GraistanRowena "Wren" of Benfield
02.08-1994Summer's StormRichard "Temric" FitzHenry, Lord MeynellPhillipa of Lindhurst
03.04-1995Spring's FuryGilliam FitzHenry, Lord AshbyNicola "Colette" of Ashby
04.11-1995Autumn's FlameGeoffrey FitzHenry, Lord CoudrayElyssa of Freyne
05.12-1996A Love For All SeasonsRobert of Blacklea, Grossier of LynnJohanna of Stanrudde

Characters Found In "Summer's Storm"
Character Description
Richard "Temric" FitzHenry[Hero] knight (10) powerful frame; unembellished armor and shield; brown hair; carefully trimmed beard; plain face; rawboned; bold jaw; strong nose with slight crook; dark expressive brows; brown eyes alive with golden lights (11) bastard of Graistan; 38-y-o; Norman and English blood (12) finely molded lips (23) calloused hands (25) Richard (237)
Philippa of Lindhurst[Heroine] married twelve years; Lindhurst a prison (7) eyes of green and blue at once; creamy skin; golden hair; lift of brow; wide cheekbones; gentle curve of jaw and mouth (16) tiny form (18) 24-y-o (21) slender jawline; upward tilt to eyes; short, straight nose (40) gentle; fearful (57) full curve of breasts; narrow waist; well formed hips; beautiful; well-made (62)
. . .. . .
Alwyna[Major Secondary Character] wants Temric to come to Stanrudde to do Jehan's work (73) Temric's mother (71) dark hair heavily threaded with silver; face usually round and full-cheeked, now gaunt (211)
Anne[Secondary Character] maid; assigned to Philippa; dark hair (38) Annette (132) befriended Philippa
Nicola Ashby[Heroine of Book Three] Rannulf revealed he had custody of Nicola; jailed her in cellar for running away (305)
Edith of Benfield[Secondary Character] Philippa's mother; looked enough like Philippa to be twin; clear green eyes (16) slender jawline; upward tilt to eyes; short, straight nose (40)
Clarice[Brief Appearance] Jehan's almost betrothed (214)
Father Edwin[Secondary Character] Graistan's ancient priest; back bowed with age; wisps of pale hair covered freckled pate; gap-toothed smile; deaf; intelligent; beautiful voice (56) sharp blue gaze (57)
Emma[Brief Appearance] Graistan maid (54)
Ermina [FitzHenry][No Appearance] Henry lost his will to live when Ermina died (172)
Geoffrey [FitzHenry][Hero of Book Four] Temric's half brother (172)
Gilliam [FitzHenry][Hero of Book Three] Temric's half brother (172) Rannulf giving him Ashby keep (305)
Henry [FitzHenry][No Appearance] Temric's father (187)
Gareth[Brief Appearances] stable master (41)
Gerard[Secondary Character] Clarice's father (216) portly; bald to a fringe around the back of his head; self-absorbed opinion (339)
Guy[Brief Appearance] threw Temric in Philippa's chamber (86)
Lord Rannulf of Graistan[Secondary Character] [Hero of Book One] tall; dark hair; harsh planes to face; dour appearance (128) gray eyes (129)
Rowena of Graistan[Secondary Character] [Heroine of Book One] Philippa's sister (16) bore Lord Benfield's blue eyes, black hair; slender jaw line; upward tilt of eyes; short, straight nose (40) beautiful; well-made (62)
Bishop William of Hereford[Brief Appearance] to rule on whether Philippa or Rowena is the rightful daughter to inherit; short; portly (143) dark eyes (144) arrogance at his power (144) dark eyes; thick beard; round face lent him false air of kindliness; power was his true nature (146)
Oswald of Hereford[Secondary Character] went with Temric to collect Philippa; Temric's cousin; Bishop's administrator (14) dark brows; black eyes (13)
Ilsa[Brief Appearance] Graistan maid (122)
Jehan[Major Secondary Character] Stanrudde wool merchant; hurt in warehouse; cannot walk; Temric's middle brother (by mother); 25-y-o; angry (73) dark hair; round face; soft in lingering youth (236)
Jordan[Secondary Character] Rannulf's son (41) coppery glow to hair (40)
Hobb atte Lea[Brief Appearance] Graistan's chief forester (200)
Lady Margaret Lindhurst[Important Secondary Character] Philippa's mother in law; sagging face; knife-thin nose; gray spikes of hair (8)
Roger of Lindhurst[Important Secondary Character] Philippa's vicious husband (9) fine and golden beauty (11) obsessive jealously (21) arrogant (34) tall; not too broad; golden hair; long, straight limbs; face like an angel (52) long; lean; half head taller than Temric (145)
Otto[No Appearance] Graistan cook; given to Bishop of Hereford; relationship with Anne (190)
Peter[Secondary Character] came to Graistan looking for Temric; Temric's mom's youngest son (70) Alwyna against his effort to become part of church (74) lanky; 16-y-o; fine, dark hair
Petrona[No Appearance] Anne's daughter; her husband beat Petrona to death (132)
Rob[Brief Appearance] Jehan's warehouse employee (216)
Robin[Brief Appearance] Temric's man (21)
SherewindJordan's pony (41)
Tom[Brief Appearance] Jehan's warehouse employee (216)
Walter[Brief Appearances] Rannulf's man (86)

"Summer's Storm" Quotations
114"Child, you make yourself more powerful than you are.   Only our Lord can allow or disallow.   You need only trust in your faith to show you the right path."
117"How will I recognize what is mine own response and what is coming from another source [meaning God]?"
179"The pity of it is not that you have misjudged your father, there's no man that doesn't do that from time to time.   Rather it lies in how you have hurt yourself by seeking to prove Henry did what he had not done."
179. . .   But, then, you have been a haunted child, convinced by your birth that you have no value.
297. . .   "He will beg for your help, but if you intervene, you will only make more of a cripple of him."
329Within him grew a list of regrets, things he'd wished he'd done, things he'd done and wished he hadn't. . . .

"Summer's Storm" Review and Information Links
Rated Posted Site Notes, Comments, Etc.
----Denise Domning's WebsiteAuthor (aka: Denise Hampton)
3.92 average{24 reviews}Amazonas of: October 22, 2012
B+02-27-2008Aneca's World 
4.50 average{4 ratings}Barnes & Nobleas of: October 22, 2012
----Desert Rose RWAExcerpt from Writer's Guide
----Fantastic FictionList of Denise Domning's Books
----Fiction DBList of Denise Domning's Books
----Fantastic FictionList of Denise Hampton's Books
----Fiction DBList of Denise Hampton's Books
3.83 average{4 reviews}Good Readsas of: October 22, 2012
----Historical Romance Writersshort biographical interview
nonenoneLibrary Thingas of: October 22, 2012
4.50 average{2 reviews}Shelfarias of: October 22, 2012
4.8502-08-2011Wolf Bear Does Booksshorter post on Amazon, Good Reads, Shelfari

♥   Disclaimer:   I Purchased This Book
♥   Very Subjective Rating
♣   Will add your Summer's Storm review link to table, just ask

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